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27 Dresses Project Returns

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Making magical nights affordable

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    27 Dresses Project founders Hannah Taylor and Emily Kebodeaux are preparing for this year's event, which will be held on March 18 and 19 at First United Methodist Church in Cleveland.
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    This year's event will offer approximately 1,500 dresses for shoppers to select from.
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The 27 Dresses Project is back this year, following a brief hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the event hasn't been held in recent years, organization founders Hannah Taylor and Emily Kebodeaux Cook, both Tarkington High School graduates, are excited to bring it back this year.

Taylor and Cook began the 27 Dresses Project as a way to provide local families with high-school-aged daughters, as well as local residents who may need dresses for special occasions, the opportunity to purchase gowns and dresses at an affordable price.

Taylor and Cook wanted to make the magic of events like prom even more magical by helping alleviate the stress that often comes with the high costs of purchasing formal wear.

"That moment when the girls come in and find a dress that they love, and they look at their mom and express that excitement," said Taylor. "This allows them the opportunity to pick out the perfect dress, and it's all under $50. It allows them to enjoy the experience even more."

The event offers a vast collection of formal wear, including prom dresses, some bridal gowns, and cocktail dresses, all suitable for a variety of events. It even offers bridesmaid dresses in a variety of colors and styles.

Donations have poured in each year from across the state of Texas to help high school students from Cleveland, Dayton, and surrounding communities and help local residents who may be searching for the perfect dress for a special occasion.

This year's event will be held at First United Methodist Church in Cleveland, the same venue that hosted the project's first event.

"The people and the congregation at First United Methodist Church have been very gracious hosts," said Taylor, adding that the church is even allowing the designated Sunday school rooms to be used as fitting rooms, giving those searching for the perfect dress additional space and privacy.

All proceeds from the event go toward next year's event and provide scholarships to students at local high schools, including Cleveland, Tarkington, Shepherd, and Splendora.

The event has grown exponentially in the years since its inception. The 2013 event offered a selection of 250 to 300 dresses, while this year's event will feature approximately 1500 dresses.

Anyone interested in donating a dress can do so at one of several drop-off locations, including Color Me Beautiful in Splendora, Tarkington Community Library, Texan Mattress in Cleveland, and Once Loved in Liberty. Anyone who cannot donate within the operating hours of the drop-off locations should send a message via the 27 Dresses Project Facebook page.

The event will be held on March 18 and 19 at First United Methodist Church in Cleveland.

For more information, visit the 27 Dresses Project Facebook page or website. Many of the available dresses will be displayed on the Facebook page, as photography students from a local high school have taken photos of the dresses to display online.

Program organizers are also seeking anyone interested in donating services as makeup artists, photographers, and hair stylists for a raffle that will be held for the young ladies purchasing dresses at the event. Anyone interested is urged to reach out via the organization's Facebook page.

"We have so many great people donating and so many great volunteers," said Taylor. "Just seeing everyone helping each other; I just love where their heart is."